High School Results – December 1997

1997 Minnesota Christmas Tournament

Forest Lake, Apple Valley battle to a tie
3-time winner Luke Becker named outstanding wrestler



The Minnesota Christmas Tournament individual champions. Front row (L-R): Jeff Ollstead – Mora, Luke Eustice – BEA, Adam Mergen – Rocori, Jeremy Weinman – Blaine, Randy Deese – West Valley, CA, David Vetsch – STMA, Mitch Marr – Forest Lake. Back row (L-R): Jake Skalicky – Simley, Luke Becker – Cambridge, Nick Slack – Scott West, Mike Duncombe – STMA, Brian Kraemer – Rocori, Justin Staebler – Perham

by Jim Beshey

The 11th annual Minnesota Christmas Wrestling Tournament proved to be the tightest race ever as the lead changed hands throughout. Forest Lake and Apple Valley emerged the co-champions with 139 points each, followed by Simley with 127 and Elk River edging Hastings 119.5 to 119.

Forest Lake placed six wrestlers in the top eight, including champ Mitch Marr and runner-up Tyler Marr. Among Apple Valley’s five placers was Ricky Crone who took second to two-time champion Nick Slack of Scott West. “I knew he was more of a defensive wrestler, he waited for me to shoot. I shot maybe three times and he countered real nice,” said Slack, “but I kept shooting and I finally got that takedown and then I kinda broke him.” Simley came away with a first in Jake Skalicky and two seconds with Jasper Hubbert and M. Anderson, plus three other placers. The Eustice brothers of Blue Earth Area, Ty and Luke, made the finals with Luke taking the title.

One of two teams with two champions, Rocori’s Adam Mergen and Brian Kraemer etched one point victories in the finals. Kraemer’s 4-3 win was over returning champ Travis Kraft of Bismark. Kraft nearly scored a takedown as time ran out and the match had to be decided by the official timer. Coach Jeff Mergen was proud of his wrestlers. “We didn’t start out as well as we wanted to. We’ve never had a champion in this tournament and we have been at it all eleven years, and now we get two!” David Vetsch and Mike Duncombe of St. Michael/Albertville claimed titles and helped the Knights to a ninth place finish.

Jeremy Weinman of Blaine took his second title in as many years with a :40 second fall over Huber of Bismark. Weinman said, “My toughest match was my first one of the tournament. I just had to get the jitters out, but then I kept going up hill from there.” Mora’s Jeff Ollestad also won a second straight title, scoring a fall at 3:12.

Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament Luke Becker of Cambridge became only the third, three-time Christmas Tournament titlist, joining Wade Short of Simley and Mike McCormick of Century Bismark. Becker’s 8-6 victory in OT came against Todd Fuller of ANML. Fuller scored the first points of the match with a first period takedown. Becker dominated the second period, but Fuller came back in the third and tied the match on a takedown with :02 seconds remaining, forcing the overtime. “I just probably shouldn’t have tied up with him,” said Becker, “I let him get good position.” Cambridge coach Neil Jennissen commenting on the tournament said, “It’s a marathon. The teams that finished on top have the big horses. The only reason we hung in there is we got pins in the first day.” Cambridge finished in seventh place.

Team Results
1. Apple Valley 139.0
1. Forest Lake 139.0
3. Simley 127.0
4. Elk River 119.5
5. Hastings 119.0
6. Jackson County Central 116.0
7. Cambridge 114.0
8. Bismark, ND 112.0
9. St. Michael/Albertville 111.5
10. Scott West 106.0
11. Fargo South, ND 105.5
12. Blue Earth 102.0
13. Perham 96.0
14. Rocori 78.5
15. Anoka 68.0
16. Minot, ND 67.5
17. Blaine 62.0
18. Mora 61.5
19. Athens, WI 60.0
20. Wabasha-Kellogg 59.0
21. Eden Valley/Watking 55.5
22. Bloomington Kennedy 52.0
23. Morris 49.0
23. Stillwater 49.0
25. Fargo North, ND 48.0
25. West Valley, CA 48.0
27. Annandale-Maple LK 47.0
28. Lake Crystal-WM 46.0
29. Irondale 44.0
29. St. Francis 44.0
31. Champlin Park 41.0
32. Omaha Gross, NE 38.0
33. Minneapolis North 28.5
34. Hayfield 25.0

Individual Results
103
1. Ollstead- Mora Fall 3:12
2. Anderson- Simley
3. Buck-Apple Valley dec 8-2
4. Fraley- Forest Lake
5. Nguyen-Champlin Park dec 4-0
6. Pfaffinger-BEA
7. Dahlheimer-STMA dec 4-3
8. Harwood-JCC
112
1. L Eustice-BEA dec 8-1
2. Hubbert-Simley
3. Shankey-Apple Valley dec 6-3
4. Swenson-Bismark
5. Griffith-Morris dec 3-2
6. Pitzel-ANML
7. Johnson-Hastings dec 7-2 ot
8. McAlpine-Elk River
119
1. Mergen-Rocori dec 1-0
2. T Eustice-BeA
3. Bride-Bismark dec 6-4 ot
4. Becker-Eden Valley
5. Fraley-Forest Lake dec 3-1
6. Ebner-Elk River
7. Hempel-Champlin Park dec 9-3
8. Stubbs-STMA
125
1. Weinman-Blaine fall :40
2. Huber-Bismark
3. Roberts-Scott West
4. Natzke-Athens
5. Martin-Elk River inj def
6. Green-Mpls North
7. Tidwell-Kennedy dec 8-1
8. Carr-Perham
130
Deese-West Valley dec 6-5
2. Sieven-Eden Valley W
3. Becker-Fargo South dec 5-1
4. Ryther-Anoka
5. Krumwiede-Perham dec 7-3
6. Avre-Cambridge
7. Jackson-Stillwater dec 9-5
8. Peterson-Simley
135
1. Vetsch-STMA dec 10-6
2. Baker-JCC
3. L Martin-Elk River fall 3:52
4. Natzke-Athens
5. Hanson-Fargo South dec 10-8
6. Pierson-Hastings
7. Rose-Morris dec 6-4
8. Engelby-Cambridge
140
1. M Marr-Forest Lake maj 11-3
2. Hanson-JCC
3. Verdeja-Simley
4. McMenomy-Hastings
5. Herbst-St. Francis dec 1-0
7. Benson-Cambridge inj def
8. Washburn-Mora
145
1. Skalicky-Simley fall 5:59
2. T Marr-Forest Lake
3. Lahr-Cambridge dec 5-1
4. Storbeck-Blaine
5. Fisher-Fargo South fall 1:56
6. Liepold-JCC
7. Lucas-Scott West dec 9-7 ot
8. Davis-Elk River
152
1. Becker-Cambridge 8-6 ot
2. Fuller-ANML
3. McLay-Hastings dec 5-2
4. Zahurski-Minot
5. Lyden-Irondale dec 3-1 ot
6. Phillips-anoka
7. Duncombe-STMA fall 4:17
8. Blanks-Mpls North
160
1. Slack-Scott West dec 4-2
2. Crone-Apple Valley
3. Blake-Athens dec 8-3
4. Kunshier-Forest Lake
5. Williams-Minot fall :55
6. Vaith-Irondale
7. Stark-WKellogg dec 5-2
8. Richter
171
1. M Duncombe-STMA dec 7-3
2. Cook-Hastings
3. Swanson-Fargo South dec 10-6
4. Waln-Elk River
5. McInerney
6. Knothe-Scott West
7. Brunner-Bismark fall 4:55
8. Gilman-LCWM
189
1. Kraemer-Rocori dec 4-3
2. Kraft-Bismark
3. Horton-Apple Valley fall 2:56
4. Nelson-Anoka
5. Thornburg-Forest Lake dec 8-6
6. Lura-Fargo South
7. Schmitt-Simley dec 3-2
8. Donnay-Elk River
275
1. Staebler-Perham dec 7-1
2. Thumb-Fargo North
3. Bruels-Hastings dec 5-2
4. Washtock-Kennedy
5. Vaugh-Blaine dec 8-1
6. Clayburn-Apple Valley
7. Beltrand-Elk River dec 3-0
8. Hanson-Scott West

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